Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia


Angiopteris evecta

The Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan - November

Common name Giant fern, king fern
Scientific name Angiopteris evecta Hoffm.
Family  Marattiaceae

Genus: from the Greek aggeion, a vessel; pteris, a fern

Species: evecta - Swollen, inflated.

Distribution Occurs in Indonesia, New Guinea, coastal northern Australia and the south and west Pacific Islands. It is naturalised in Hawaii, Jamaica, Costa Rica and Cuba.
Native habitat Grows in terrestrial rainforests, clearings and along roadsides, also in ravines and on steep volcanic slopes, always growing in very rich soils.
Description A giant fern to 7 m tall with bipinnate fronds up to 5-7 m long on a petiole up to 2 m long.
Flowering/fruiting n/a

Location in Garden

In Beds 0 and 33 on the Connections Garden.


While the species is common in the wet tropics of north-eastern Queensland, south of this region it occurs only as disjunct isolated populations, which may be relics of previous favourable climatic conditions.
The only known population in New South Wales comprises one plant that is not currently reproducing. Because of this rarity it is considered as Endangered in New South Wales. Threats include the small population size, fire, inappropriate collection, site visitation and displacement by exotic plants.

The starchy rhizomes are edible after long processing to remove toxins. It is also used to flavour rice and to produce an intoxicating alcoholic drink.
The individuals at Mount Annan are just babies, the oldest planted in 2000, but they can live for decades. There is a plant in the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney which was planted in 1969 and is still going strong.